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Planning and compliance

When a development application for a wind farm is approved by an appropriate authority, the wind farm is issued with a permit, stating the conditions of approval. The wind farm must operate in compliance with the conditions stated in the permit. All Australian jurisdictions have different processes for ensuring compliance, and different authorities which are responsible for permit enforcement and ensuring compliance. If you are concerned that there may be a potential breach of compliance by a wind farm operator, you should contact the operator in the first instance. Further compliance contact details for each jurisdiction are available below.

Jurisdiction Who issues the permits? Compliance Contact Details

New South Wales

Large-scale renewable energy developments are granted approval under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979. The approval authority is dependent on the size of the capital investment value and megawatt (MW) capacity of the proposed project. These authorities include the Local Council, Joint Regional Planning Panel, and the Planning Minister and Planning Assessment Commission.

An overview can be found on the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment website.

Also see NSW Government’s Wind Energy Framework

Environment Protection Authority

Operators of wind farms must now hold environment protection licences for both construction and operation under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997. The Environment Protection Authority is the appropriate contact in relation to licensing and standard conditions

Website: Report Pollution

Pollution hotline: 131 555

Department of Planning and Environment

Phone: 1300 305 695

Email: compliance [at] planning.nsw.gov.au

Website: Compliance policy and guidelines

Queensland

Wind farms are approved by the State Assessment and Referral Agency, within the QLD Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning.

Solar energy facilities are assessed by local councils.

Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning

Phone: 13 74 68 (8:30am-5:00pm)

Email: windfarms [at] dsdmip.qld.gov.au (windfarms)@dsdmip.qld.gov.au

Website: State Assessment and Referral Agency

(Note: For applications lodged prior to 22 July 2016, the relevant compliance authority remains the local government who issued the approval)

See also:

Solar Farm Guidelines

State Development Assessment Process Code 23

South Australia

Local councils are responsible for assessing and approving renewable energy proposals, unless the project is classified as public infrastructure (a state significant project), whereby the Minister is responsible for making a decision on the proposal.

Contact Local Council in the first instance for compliance matters

Environment Protection Authority

24/7 Pollution and Environment Incident Reporting/Complaints hotline: (08) 8204 2004

Email: epainfo [at] sa.gov.au

Website: Wind farm noise

Tasmania

Local councils are responsible for assessing and approving any wind and solar farm applications within their area, although the Environment Protection Authority may undertake assessment of environment impacts of a proposal.

Environment Protection Authority

Phone: (03) 6165 4599

Email: incidentresponse [at] epa.tas.gov.au

Website: Compliance and Incident Response

24/7 Pollution Hotline: 1800 005 171

Victoria

The Victorian Minister for Planning is responsible for issuing permits for wind farms and large-scale solar energy facilities.

Contact local council in the first instance for compliance matters, although the responsible compliance authority may vary depending on permit conditions.

Western Australia

The Western Australian Planning Commission administers responsibility for approving renewable energy facilities through local councils.

Department of Water and Environment Regulation

Phone: (08) 6467 5000

Email: info [at] dwer.wa.gov.au

Website: Department of Water and Environment Regulation

Northern Territory

The NT Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics is responsible for issuing permits.

Environment Protection Authority

Phone: (08) 8924 4218

Email: eia.ntepa [at] nt.gov.au

Website: Northern Territory Environment Protection Authority

(Note that this for matters relating to environmental nuisance matters after a wind farm has been developed. Any issues or concerns relating to use of land, potential visual impacts etc. should be directed to the NT Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics)

Australian Capital Territory

The ACT Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate is responsible for issuing permits.

Access Canberra

Phone: (02) 6207 1923

Email: csbinvestigations [at] act.gov.au

Website: Compliance mechanisms

Federal

Issues or questions of permit compliance with the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) can be raised through the Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. Further information can be obtained by contacting the Compliance and Enforcement Branch.

Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment

Phone: (02) 6274 1372 or free call 1800 110 395 (during business hours)

Email: compliance [at] environment.gov.au

Website: Compliance and enforcement

    Guidelines and further information

    Australian jurisdictions have their own planning guidelines and regulations for renewable energy projects. These guidelines are provided below.

    Jurisdiction Guideline

    New South Wales

    • New Wind Energy Framework - NSW Department of Planning & Environment December 2016
      • Wind Energy Guideline for State Significant Wind Energy Development.
      • Wind Energy: Visual Assessment Bulletin for State Significant Wind Energy Development.
      • Wind Energy: Noise Assessment Bulletin for State Significant Wind Energy Development.
      • Wind Energy Framework: Standard Secretary's Environmental Assessment Requirements.
    • Large-scale Solar Energy Guideline

    Queensland

    South Australia

    Further information

    Victoria

    Western Australia

    Project permit approvals, as well as compliance incidences, are often made publicly available. Some of these documents are available in the links below:

    Jurisdiction Approvals

    New South Wales

    Victoria